Major repair before trading in?


Hey all,

I have a 2009 BMW 328i xDrive 6-speed manual with about 70k miles on it. I am looking to trade it in but it needs a few semi-major repairs – two cylinders are misfiring and it needs new ignition coils/plugs; a cracked oil filter housing; and maybe a new front oxygen sensor (might be related to the misfire).

The repair is going to cost about $2500 – I’m wondering if people think I should get these fixed before trading in. I’m thinking no – a dealer could fix it cheaper, so it won’t affect the trade in value that much. Also, it’s the last week of the month (and year) I’m thinking dealers will be motivated to take anything to move cars.

Any thoughts?


Don’t repair it, let the dealer know the symptoms and they will adjust the price. You are right,they could arrange the repairs at cost vs you paying list.

Don’t fix it and don’t tell the dealer about it. They are the experts, and they have the resources to find problems before buying the car from you. I do not consider this hiding information or cheating in this case. If it is a private party sale, then you should disclose any problems. Make sure you know a fair trade-in value before you trade it. Sources like and can provide a fair market trade-in value for you. That way you will know if they deducted any more than $2500 for the required work off a similar car in clean condition. This can help you negotiate A fair trade-in value, despite the problems you think you have. Who knows? Maybe they won’t agree with the evaluation you already have, and you will get more than you anticipate. If you tell them what is wrong and the problems don’t exist, they will smell more profit. Don’t give your money away.

Just because you think the dealer can fix it cheaper doesn’t mean they will give you the discount. Watch out if they do I would guess they will try and make it back on your new car purchase. How would they be able to do it cheaper? They still have to buy parts and pay a mechanic just like anywhere else.

Assuming you are trading in for new just leave it alone. A dealer will wholesale this thing to a jobber because it is not worth their time to put major work into it. As for the money all that matters is your satisfaction of the deal. No matter how good it is someone will claim you got robbed whether they know what they are talking about or not.

I agree. The dealer is not your friend. He allegedly has the expertise to determine the condition of the vehicle, and makes you an offer based on it. Full disclosure on your part is unnecessary and IMHO unadvisable.

I think the trade in without fixing is probably the better of the two options. I agree, now’s a good time to wheel & deal on a dealership car, the sales-force is trying to up their year end sales totals now. And time is of the essence as the end of the year approaches. Having the time factor on your side is a big advantage. But no need to guess, find a beemer you like and make an offer w/trade-in. See what’s they’ll do. The worse they can say is “no”, and that’s no worse than the situation you are now in anyway. Go for it!

They could take the boat payment off the bill .

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My tempation would be to make the repairs and keep the BMW. 70,000 miles is not a lot of miles these days. A stick shift BMW is a fun car to drive. Why do you have the hots to get a new car? $2500 is a lot less than the cost of a new car.


If it’s misfiring, the check engine light will surely be illuminated. The dealer will know something is wrong right off the bat, and adjust his/her trade-in quote accordingly.

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